At the onset of 2012 I had a total of four fiction publication credits in the 21st Century for which I had earned a total of less than $15. I had made 70 short fiction submissions in 2011, garnering 67 rejections and 3 acceptances. (That's actually a fairly-decent ratio, though one of those was a twitter-length fiction and the other two sales were a pair of flash stories to the same market.) Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine that in 2012 I would make over a half-dozen pro-paying sales, become eligible to be a full Active member of SFWA, and have a story of mine selected for reprint in an anthology being edited by mystery and crime editing legend Otto Penzler.
Of course, 2012 wasn't all roses. I went through an absolutely brutal stretch from mid-January through mid-March where in 85 submissions of fiction to paying markets I received 84 rejections and 1 acceptance. If I was going to quit writing, this is when it could have happened. If I had, it would have been quite the pity. Starting with my first pro-rate sale ("An Unsuitable Job for a Human" to Nature) I went through a stretch where in my next 85 submissions of fiction to paying markets I made 12 sales including a total of three at pro rates. Now that meant I still got 73 rejections but, folks, those 73 rejections are a lot easier to take when the sales are rolling in as well. And a roughly 14% acceptance rate at paying fiction markets is not something to sneeze at, at all.
Overall, I made a total of 316 submissions in 2012. I received 317 responses, some of which were for submissions sent in 2011. (Conversely, some of my 2012 submissions did not receive responses during the calendar year.) For those submissions:
- One submission received no reply.
- Two submissions were withdrawn.
- I received four rewrite requests; three of which I followed up on and all three resulted in sales.
- I had 33 acceptances, one of which later fell through. (On the other hand, I had one solicited story sale, which doesn't show up in my "submission" metrics.)
- And I had 277 rejections.
- Four were to pro-rate SFWA-qualifying markets.
- Three were to pro-rate markets not on the SFWA list.
- 13 were to semi-pro markets (including the one which fell through).
- 11 were to markets which pay, but either have a per-word rate below semi-pro rates or which pay a flat rate which generally falls below semi-pro.
- One was a semi-pro poetry sale.
- Two were for no payment -- one Twitter-length fiction and one foreign language reprint.
- 14 of those were flash length (1,000 words or fewer)
- Nine were between 1,001 and 3,000 words.
- Five were over 3,000 words.
- 12 were fantasy stories.
- 11 were science fiction stories.
- Three were mystery stories.
- Two were horror stories.
And I'd be remiss if I didn't end this post with a tip of the hat to Alex Shvartsman, friend and frequent critique partner, whose introduction to his own 2011 year-in-review post I shameless ripped off for my 2012 year-in-review post. His post is worth reading if you want to know more about the techniques which both he and I have tended to use to improve our writing, produce a significant wordcount, and attain acceptances.